pjs from t shirts

May 30th, 2013

pjs from t shirts

I said I would and look! I actually did: I made summer pajamas from a bunch of thrifted tees.

pjs from t shirts

And the kids actually like them! There is no Iron Man or Perry the Platypus or Elmo or whatever character they’re into this minute in sight. I’m not against the odd licensed character, but I cannot deal with the weird, plastic, pajama fabric they are printed on. When they’re new the fabric feels like slimy alien skin, and after a few washes it turns into pill-y, old, molted alien skin.

pjs from t shirts

Obviously I have some issues with kids’ pajamas. Not these suckers though! They are all 100% handmade from 100% second hand clothes.

pjs from t shirts

Here are all the sewing details:

fabricthrifted tees pictured here

pattern: For the shorts I used the sleeping johns pattern from Growing Up Sew Liberated. I made the sleeping johns a few years ago and they still fit my daughter. So the fit is obviously pretty generous. My 7 year old daughter is wearing a size 5T, my 6 year old son is wearing a 4T, and my 3 year old son is wearing a 3T

The shirts are made with Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee pattern. The only time I actually followed the pattern was for the gray shirt in the middle. For the other two shirts I used the pattern more as a guide. The tank top is far from perfect, but it works for pjs.

sewing: The shorts went super fast and were not a problem at all. The shirts were a bit more fiddle-y, because I chose super soft, super thin material. My sewing machine prefers to eat material like that rather than sew it. Arg!

pjs from t shirts

The plan was to have two pairs of pjs for each kid, but only the youngest got two (the second pair is pictured above). For that gray striped top, I used Kristen’s Flashback Tee –> Tank Top tutorial and blatantly copied her style while I was at it. There are two more pairs of pjs in the works. Both are half done, but I think I hit a pajama making wall. Maybe I’ll climb over it this weekend :)

pjs from t shirts

Posted in sewing clothes.

19 Responses to pjs from t shirts

  1. Rae Hoekstra says:

    OMG the alien skin comment….that pretty much sums up EXACTLY how I feel about kids’ pajamas!! hee. Knowing they have also frequently been hosed down with the latest flame-retardant carcinogen prior to assembly also never helps.


  2. Ulrike says:

    Love those summer pjs. Here, you can get cotton pjs BUT the front has often huge prints (makes them sweaty) and with each wash they mostly get shorter. So more sewing it is.

  3. LOLOLOL! I totally agree about the storebought PJs. I hate putting those awful things on my children, especially for them to sleep. I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to put my children to bed near open flames so why I would be expected to dress them in chemical-laden flame retardant fabrics is beyond me. I love your upcycled cotton pjs! They look so comfy.

  4. Courtney says:

    Wow those are awesome! I too am making pjs for my littles. But so far I only have the bottoms finished. You did way better in the completion part than I did. I’m not giving up though

  5. vanessa says:

    Cute and they look really comfy! I keep meaning to make some summer pj’s….need to get on that :)

  6. kristin says:

    Oh these are sooo cute! That first photo just melts me too, your littlest guy is getting so big! What a fun-looking trio. And hey thanks for linking to my tutorial! I said in that post I would make more and I never did…maybe should do that this summer. I put those shorts on O recently and they were pretty hilariously small. I should send you a photo. ;)

  7. Tasha says:

    I want some of those shorts in my size! They look soooo comfy.

  8. Karin says:

    You just encouraged me to get myself over my own wall. So cute! As the youngest of three I have to say your little guy almost makes me want to have a 3rd kid! He is the star of the PJ show and I fell in love with him.

  9. Laura says:

    I recently took on a similar project. At first I was questioning why I was spending so much time on something the kids would only sleep in, but they all love them and I’m totally in agreement with your distate for the store-bought, action-hero variety.

  10. I didn’t know you had three kids! I too love the idea of kids in cosy t-shirt re-fashioned pjs. You know they are already worn in and extra soft and comfy without lol alien skin!

    • meg says:

      Well one out of three is usually throwing a fit of some kind, so they aren’t in pictures all together very often :)

  11. melissa q. says:

    These are super fantastic! As is your youngest man…the littlest people always need the biggest personality, don’t they? You are inspiring me to dig out the old jersey knit clothes and hit the thrift store for my KCW summer clothes.

  12. Mary Jo says:

    Hi Meg! I love your pj’s! You inspired me to make my own kid pajamas from a t-shirt! Here’s the link if you want to look: http://allthisforthem.blogspot.com/2013/06/summer-pajamas-mini-tute.html
    Thanks and have a great week! :)

  13. Kim says:

    They are so cool. I can’t get myself to sew my kids a top let alone pj’s. You are super awesome. I should buy my kids some nice knits and make them winter pj’s. I am scared about my sewing machine eating up knits too. The foot never seems to sew nicely over knits and ribbing.

    • meg says:

      A jersey needle helps a lot. There are about a million posts on “helpful hints for sewing with knit.” My advice is read a bunch, let them sink in for a week or two, and then wing it!

  14. Tara says:

    Ew, I totally get what you mean about kid’s pajamas. Most of them make me cringe when I look at them, and inspire hateful things in me when I actually touch them. A couple of washes later they look like you dragged them behind a truck. For the most part I’ll only buy the organic cotton ones from costco at this point, and still I don’t like the texture. Your PJ selection turned out very cute and looks a million times more comfy than the scratchy elmo crap. I really need to just buy Growing Up Sew Liberated. It’s been checked out several times from the library, but it’s totally worth just ponying up the dough for.

  15. This is SUCH a great idea and they turned out so cute!! My mom always used to make my pajamas rather than buy the plastic ones, but this is even cooler–when I have kids I’ll definitely want to remake clothes for them!

  16. I totally agree with your comment and you did choose the right word to describe it – Alien Skin!! I really don’t like those kinds of cloths for my children’s sleep wear. I liked it in cotton or those soft fabrics that’s very comfortable for them to wear, like those outfits they’re using on the picture. They look so soft and so breezy feeling. It’s wonderful choice.